Model Laws

Adoption of Cats and Dogs Used in Research and Education


Sec. 1. Purpose

To ensure that healthy cats and dogs no longer used for research, testing or education purposes be made available for adoption instead of being euthanized, and to put in place the process for adoption through agreements with local shelters or rescue groups.


Sec. 2. Definitions

For the purposes of this act:

(a) “Animal rescue organization” means any non-profit organization whose purpose is rescuing animals in need and finding permanent, adoptive homes for the animals


(b) “Animal shelter” means any non-profit organization that provides housing and care for animals, directly or through third-party agreements, with the purpose of finding permanent homes for these animals through an adoptive process.


(c) “Private placement” means an arrangement between the research facility and an individual seeking to adopt the retired animal;


(d) “Retired animal” means a cat or dog that has been previously used for science, testing, education or research purposes and is no longer required by the facility and has no substantial medical conditions preventing successful integration into a family home;


(e) “Research facility” means a higher education research facility that receives public money, including tax-exempt status, or a facility that provides research in collaboration with a higher education facility, and other research facilities, that conduct experiments on dogs and/or cats for science, testing, education or research purposes.


Sec. 3. Regulation

(a) Any research facility, or employee or student thereof, that confines and uses dogs and cats for research, educational, testing or scientific purposes, instead of euthanizing a cat or dog that is a retired animal, shall, providing the cat or dog is not required for health or safety reasons:

  1. Offer the cat or dog to an animal rescue organization or animal shelter for adoption; or
  2. Offer the cat or dog for adoption through private placement.

(b) A facility that is required to offer dogs or cats to an animal rescue organization under this section shall enter into an agreement with an animal rescue organization or animal shelter for the implementation of this section. A facility that provides a dog or cat to a rescue organization under this section is immune from any civil liability that otherwise might result from its actions, provided that the facility is acting in good faith.


Additional Commentary

Every year, over 100 million animals are used as subjects of scientific and medical research, as well as for educational purposes. As recently as 2012, over 24,000 cats and over 72,000 dogs were used in research. While some dogs and cats are still obtained from Class B dealers, most dogs used in research today are bred either in laboratories or by private companies that sell strictly to labs. After these animals are used, they may be euthanized even though they may still be healthy and suited for adoption. This bill requires research facilities that receive public funding to offer their cats and dogs for adoption instead of euthanizing them when they are no longer being used. Permitting private placement adoptions allows students or staff members of the institution to adopt these animals directly without waiting for a formal adoption process through the rescue organization or shelter. By requiring the research institution to enter into a contract with an animal rescue group or shelter, there is a clear path to transition cats and dogs from the laboratory or testing facility to an adoption center who can offer these animals the possibility of living out the rest of their lives in a loving home.



Beagle Freedom Project


Lehigh Valley Live


Minnesota law CHAPTER 312–H.F.No. 3172


New York Bill S00098 (Signed 8/16/16–Chap. 240)